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Chinese3/15/2006English
經文:帖撒羅尼迦後書一章
鑰節:「……叫你們可算配得上帝的國……」(1:5)
提要

        總的來說,保羅、西拉、和提摩太,很喜歡帖撒羅尼迦的教會。他們認為,當地信徒的靈命具有「上帝公義審判的明證」,並且他們「被算做配進上帝的國」(5節NIV本)。這「明證」是什麼呢?

        最要緊的是:他們的信心「格外增長」(3節上)。其次,他們彼此相愛的心都「充足」(3節下);第三,他們不斷地委身(他們「在逼迫和患難中,仍舊存忍耐和信心」──4節)。信心增長、愛心充足,不斷委身──這些特質,便是帖撒羅尼迦的信徒,「配受上帝的國」之「明證」。

        信心如何增長?便是靠輸入和輸出。你消化了聖道,並活出聖道──你把話吃進去,又把話活出來。換句話說,你又學習又實行。

        那末愛心又如何充足呢?你實踐所傳講的一切。當你消化上帝的話,並把它活出來時,你就愈看重鄰人──你會多為他的好處著想。你愈是向鄰人行善,你對他的愛也愈增加。上帝的愛藉著你對他人的流露,將「遍佈四方」。

        而「委身」一詞是靜態的,怎麼會和動態的「不斷」一詞聯用呢?日復一日的委身形成流暢的「軌道」,讓信和愛在上面奔馳。它和「盼望」有十分接近的關係;因為你有希望,你便會產生堅忍和耐心,期待盼望的實現。你把眼目注視著天國,你就能日日跟隨著它前進。

禱告

        應允吧,我主!讓我們的信和愛心增長。保守我們在對您與對別人的事上,行得剛強。(請用帖後1:11~12的經文禱告)。

English

Scriptures:Read 2 Thessalonians 1
Key Verse:"... that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God..."(2 Thessalonians 1:5)
Overview

        Generally speaking, Paul, Silas, and Timothy were pleased with the Thessalonian church. In their estimation, the qualities of the believers there were "evidence that God's judgment is right" and they were "counted worthy of the kingdom of God" (v. 5 NIV). What was this "evidence"?

        First of all, their faith was "growing" (v. 3a). Secondly, their love for one another was "increasing" (v. 3b NIV); and thirdly, their commitment was ongoing (especially in the context of persecution, they were "enduring" — v. 4 NIV). Growing faith, increasing love, ongoing commitment — these qualities were the "evidence" that the Thessalonian believers were "worthy of the kingdom of God".

        How does faith grow? Simply by input and output. You digest the Word and live the Word — you take it in and live it out. In other words, you learn and do.

        So how does love increase? You practise what you preach. As you ingest the word and live it, you develop a high view of your neighbour — you seek his highest good. And the more you choose to do what's right and best for your neighbour, the more your love increases. The love of God is "shed abroad" from you to others.

        And how does commitment relate to all this dynamic motion, this growing and increasing? Commitment is the everyday, day-after-day "track" on which faith and love move. It's closely related to hope; because you have a hope, you have the perseverance and patience to see that hope realized. You have Heaven in view, and you follow through.

Prayer

        Grant, Lord, that our faith and love will grow. Keep us strong in our commitment to You and to one another. (Let us conclude by praying the prayer 2 Thess. 1:11-12.)


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